Special Pleading

AKA: Double Standards

Holding the opposition to a different standard than yours, or holding what you care about to a different standard than what you don't care about. For example, after it comes out on the news that a local man hit his girlfriend, Riley declares that he should go to jail for the rest of his life. When it comes out that a celebrity hit his girlfriend, Riley declares that he clearly didn't mean it, or maybe she did something to provoke him, or something. Either way, it wasn't the celebrity's fault. But for all Riley knows, the local man may have been acting out of self-defence, and the celebrity may have just been a violent jerk.

Another form of special pleading is to demand unequal evidence for something. For example, Kathy believes that pixies exist despite the fact that she's never seen one, let alone seen any real evidence for one - but there are so many stories about them out there, they must exist! But when her friend Emma says that she believes in frost giants, Kathy immediately dismisses the possibility because nobody's found any evidence for them - no frost giant footprints, no frost giant homes, no frost giant bodies, no anything. Never mind that nobody's found the same for pixies, either.

One thing that is not this fallacy is people having different standards for who can treat them how. For example, if Lacy is fine with her husband calling her "sugarbear," it does not follow that she should be fine with a complete stranger - or worse, an enemy - addressing her by the same term.

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